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Das Thorsberger Moor vol. 3

Thorsberger Moor, Volume 3

The  military equipment. Investigations comparing Roman and Germanic weaponry

By Suzana Matešič

Publisher and distributor: Verein zur Förderung des Archäologischen Landesmuseums e.V., Schloss Gottorf

Schleswig 2015

124 colour platesCover Thorsberg 3

The publication of the third volume completes the 'Thorsberger Moor' series of monographs. This final volume deals with the military equipment found in the Thorsberger Moor. It is in two parts and includes a comprehensive catalogue and 124 colour plates. The text part contains analyses of the various find categories: swords, shields, helmets, chain-mail and miscellaneous other weaponry. In some categories, previous typologies could be expanded, thereby confirming the limited spatial distribution of certain types. In other cases, new typologies were elaborated to specifically reflect the range of types represented in the Thorsberger find spectrum. Comparison of the decorations allowed some of the finds related to swords to be grouped into sets. Moreover, in the course of the excavation, several find concentrations were recorded: these are now presented and analysed together as find assemblages. The deliberate destruction of objects is discussed, as are the Roman and Germanic inscriptions on objects. A chronological evaluation reveals how many deposits in the Thorsberger Moor could be determined on the basis of the militaria; how these are dated; and to what extent the results correspond with the results of the analyses of the horse harnesses and personal equipment.
An important objective of the study was to investigate the Roman and Roman-influenced Germanic militaria in the find material. Indeed, not only was a considerable proportion of the militaria in the Thorsberger Moor find material actually Roman, it could be proved that there were also typological relationships with certain supposedly purely Germanic types.
The investigation of the military equipment from the Thorsberger Moor was conducted on three levels. Find-specific examinations and find-category comparisons led, on the second level, to an analysis of the site in relation to the composition of the militaria together with the horse harnesses and the personal equipment. On the third level, the site itself was compared with other approximately contemporary sites with sacrificial deposits of war booty to determine any regional differences between the individual sites. Furthermore, the question of whether and to what extent the Thorsberger Moor find spectrum has parallels in Scandinavian and Continental graves containing weapons, thus implying possible cultural connections, is discussed; as is the extent to which possible insights are limited by cremation as the prevailing form of burial and a very selective custom of weapons as grave goods. Finally, the range of Roman militaria types observed in the Thorsberger Moor is compared with those found outside and within the borders of the Roman Empire.
This publication supplements the already published monographs on horse harnesses and personal equipment and the collective volume on the history of the finds and their investigation, together with the scientific analyses and material assessments, so that, for the first time, the metal and leather finds from the Thorsberger Moor are presented in their entirety.

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